LAWYERS BEWARE…….If you’ve been representing someone in a knock-down, drag-out, decade-long divorce action, with no end in sight, it’s understandable that you’d be a frustrated. While some attorneys prefer to write “nasty grams” to opposing counsel, here is a tip of what not to do! If you are considering writing a four-page, 60-line email riffing on a classic holiday poem and sending it to your client, the opposing counsel and the judge – DON’T DO IT!
Recently, a New York attorney was disciplined for sending opposing counsel and the court “his version” of the epic poem Twas the Night Before Christmas. After litigating his client’s divorce for over 10 years, the attorney emailed this little jingle:
Twas the week before Christmas, in the Matrimonial Part
All the creatures were stirring, putting their horse in front of the cart
The fee applications were pending, bills demanding to be paid
In hopes that the client’s resolve, soon would fade
The attorneys and consultants nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of paid fees danced in their heads
The good ship lollipop continued on an uncharted map
They all settled their brains for a long winter nap
When down in the basement there arose such a clatter
They all sprang from their desks to see what was the matter
Away to their computers they flew like a flash
To bill their clients in hopes of some cash
“Good luck getting a trial date” former counsel would scream
“Make him pay another 173k” opposing counsel would dream
Don’t forget my repairs – they were in great need,
Ten toilets in 5 years is not excessive – no, not indeed
The Honorable One now passed, who will take the torch?
To rule on pending motions, some two years on the porch
Justice delayed is justice denied
Will Article 78 inspire some pride?
Win, Lose or Draw it’s not for a judge to care
Simply rule and move on, why is that such a dare?
This 2003 case be a 59 month marriage and a 9 year divorce
1.5M in temporary support to date – can plaintiff get more – why of course!
In October of 2007 his honor one time declared
“It is the expeditious trial of the matter which you know I am in favor” you know that I am fair
Yet 27 days over 7 months in 08
He claimed to not have enough data to deliberate.
Then 2 years later when ready for the mini trial
Your Honor sent the matter over to another Judge O’Connell
Upon review of the record and arguments far and near
No new evidence to benefit the plaintiff would appear
Was the exercise futile, it would certainly appear so
Some 9 years later, the client is still paying, so I guess so
“What’s your number” make a business decision they would all insist
With nary a reference to a martial estate yes, we all get the gist
The first time around the client heard Miranda 3 or 4 times on the stand
He was warned that criminal actions would soon be at hand
You better settle said the powers to be
Or else we’ll tell the District Attorney and the SEC
The accusations turned out nothing more than a bluff
Akin the wolf that would huff and puff
One lesson learned this last 9 years is quite base
It is illegal for a lawyer to threaten criminal action to settle a civil case
Those in Brooklyn learned the hard way
Round the same time this plaintiff says Nay
Before using process as a weapon, one better must think
As those in Kings County found themselves in the clink
So back to math class we all must go
Everyone bring their pencils, be there in the rain, wind or snow
This time is should be fair, everyone play it straight
Do it according to the Constitutional Mandate
2.7M was not enough to cut it this week
Already paid 249k and OC is still looking to wet his beak
Fees, fees, fees they think at some point will be too much to bear
But the client is still standing and not going anywhere
Tis the season for giving and to be jolly
There must be someday be an end to this folly
Final Judgment of divorce be entered, whether fair, wrong or right
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good-Night!
The opposing counsel in this case – who may or may not have had a heart that was two sizes too small, just wasn’t in the mood for a holiday-themed ribbing. He found the poem to be “outrageously offensive, utterly unprofessional [and] threatening.” He moved for a finding of contempt and sanctions against the New York Attorney, but he would have been better off petitioning Santa to place a lump of coal in opposing counsel’s stocking, because his motions were denied.
Merry Christmas To All of You
From All of Us at the Horton Law Group, P.A.